Eat it!

Old Bibles Ask virtually any preacher and they will tell you: the most difficult sermons are those on biblical passages that are most familiar.

Easter sermons.

Christmas sermons.

Prodigal Son sermons.

Ask any bible reader and there are sections of Scripture that we find difficult to stay jazzed about studying or reading.

Leviticus.

Minor Prophets.

2 Chronicles.

Whether it's Scripture familiar, or Scripture "out there," we're told, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

God-breathed and useful. God-breathed and useful. All of it? Yep. 

It tells us who God really is. It tells us the truth, even about our motives (Heb. 4). It nourishes us and provides us with words of grace to bolster our faith and heal our wounds. They call us and empower us to live out the Kingdom.

If we read them…particularly, if we eat them. This "eating" of Scripture described in the Scriptures, and expounded upon by Eugene Peterson in Eat this Book: "These are words intended, whether confrontationally or obliquely, to get inside us, to deal with our souls, to form a life that is congruent with the world that God has created, the salvation that he has enacted, and the community that he has gathered. Such writing anticipates and counts on a certain kind of reading, a dog-with-a-bone kind of reading."

Perhaps that's the kind of reading being talked about when Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and John are told to eat the Scripture prior to speaking on God's behalf. Familiarity or "boring" texts do not need to sap our passion for reading, meditating, and living the Bible. All Scripture is God-breathed and useful, we're told in 2 Timothy 3, and that conviction should cultivate a hunger in us rooted in desire to hear from God and to live out His will.

The next time it's time to read or prepare a message from a familiar text or one that may lack pizzazz on the surface, don't just read the text. Eat the text. Let it metabolize inside of you and become part of who you are. As it was for John, it may be for us. We may find it sweet on the lips and bitter in the stomach. But, rest assured, it's good for us, and as it becomes part of us, we will be more Christ-like for it. Don't just read it. Eat it.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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